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Do you have a .yaml file that you load with the controller manager that includes:

joint_state_controller:
  type: joint_state_controller/JointStateController
  publish_rate: 50

?

In my launch file for Baxter I have:

<!-- Load joint controller configurations from YAML file to parameter server -->
<rosparam file="$(find baxter_control)/config/gazebo_controllers.yaml" command="load"/>

<!-- load the default controllers -->
<node name="controller_spawner" pkg="controller_manager" type="spawner" respawn="false"
      output="screen" ns="/robot" args="joint_state_controller                                                                                            
                                        right_position_trajectory_controller                                                                              
                                        left_position_trajectory_controller                                                                               
                                        " />

I haven't worked with Gazebo / ros_control in a while though, so my memory is hazy.